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Short-Haul Exception Expanded by FMCSA

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FMCSA posted a new rule yesterday (5/14/2020) that will take affect in about four months. The new rule contains 4 substantial changes to hours of service.

  • Short-haul exception is now 150 air-miles or 14 hours start to finish
    (previously 100 air-miles and 12 hours, except Alaska)
  • Adverse driving window (on duty time) is extended by 2 hours
  • 30 minute break (property carriers) is now only required after 8 driving hours (instead of on-duty) and can be taken as on-duty time
  • Sleeper berth exception now allows 2 breaks totaling at least 10 hours, given at least 7 hours is spent in the berth (previous 8).
RuleExisting RuleNew Rule
Short-Haul12 hours, 100 Air-Miles14 Hours, 150 Air-Miles
Adverse DrivingAdds 2 Hours to Driving Time OnlyAdds 2 Hours to Driving or On Duty Time
30-Minute breakMust be Sleeper Berth or Off-DutyCan also be On-Duty
Sleeper Berth8 Hours Consecutive Required7 Hours Consecutive Required

Short-Haul Exception

Under 395.1(e)(1) If a driver operates within a 100 air-mile radius of base and also starts and ends at the same within 12 hours, they do not require a traditional log.

Hours of service are still required, but only need the start time, end time, and total hours worked each day.

If you meet the requirements, consider using a form like this one instead of driver logs.

Please note, this form has been updated for the new regulation that is not yet effective.

Driver’s Time Record V2.3

Why this is important:

  • With the expansion to 14 hours and 150 air-miles, even more local limo drivers qualify for the short-haul exception
  • If a driver qualifies for the short-haul exception 22 out of every 30 days, they do not need ELDs.

Again, very few local operators will need ELDs. This not only saves money, but also lowers the administrative burden of properly managing ELD systems and/or paper logs.

Adverse Driving Conditions

Adverse driving conditions are defined under 395.2 as snow, sleet, fog, other adverse weather conditions, a highway covered with snow or ice, or unusual road and traffic conditions, none of which were apparent on the basis of information known to the person dispatching the run at the time it was begun.

The previous rule allowed drivers to exceed the maximum driving hours by 2 full hours in order to complete a run, or reach a place of safety or security if adverse driving conditions caused the delay.

The previous regulation did not extend the on-duty hours so a driver near the end of their shift was unable to use the adverse driving condition exception. The new rule corrects this and allows both on-duty and driving time to extend by two total hours. It also expands to include the driver’s knowledge of road conditions.

30 Minute Break

Under 395.3, property carrying drivers who do not qualify for the short-haul exception must take a 30 minute break at least once before exceeding 8 driving hours.

Under the previous rule this break must be off-duty or sleeper-berth time. The new rule expands to allow on-duty time to count as the required break. It should also be noted that more drivers will now qualify for the short-haul exception listed above.

Sleeper Berth Exception

A sleeper berth is defined under 395.2 and is generally found on over-the-road trucks. Sleeper Berths may be used in lieu of traditional off-duty time if the requirements of the exception are met. There can be found in 395.1(g).

One of these exceptions previously allowed a combination of at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and up to 2 hours as a passenger (10 hours total) to start a new work shift.

The new rule modifies this to only require at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, as long as the total hours in sleeper-berth and passenger time is still at least 10 hours.

Full Text

Review the full text of the new rule here.

Association Support

On a related note, the National Limousine Association (NLA) and the American Bus Association are cited in the final rule in support of the short haul exception extension.

Consider joining one or both as they fight to help our industry!

Temperature Check

Temperature Checks

The Society for Human Resource Management has released a guide to Employee Temperature Checks. Below is a summary of key points and application to the transportation industry.

Full text of their article can be read here and is a must read for anyone implementing Employee Temperature Checks.

Legal Mandates

It is important to acknowledge that while many businesses mandate temperature checks, it may also be a legal requirement to operate in your area. We highly recommend reviewing your state and local requirements.

Passenger Temperature Checks

No official guidance has been released on checking the temperature of passengers or customers. In general, businesses are not requiring customers to submit to checks unless there is a large population of vulnerable individuals, such as hospitals or assisted living centers.

We recommend reviewing local guidance, speaking to your attorney and setting a universal policy before implementing checks. At this point, in accordance with the majority of businesses, we generally advise against requiring passengers to submit to temperature checks.

ADA Concerns

Temperature checks have traditionally been considered medical examinations and are generally prohibited by The American with Disabilities Act. Due to the unique nature of the COVID-19 response the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has stated that temperature checks are allowable. That said, one expert cited in the article recommends paying anyone sent home with a temperature.

Testing Procedure

If possible, have checks conducted by someone with medical training. Utilizing medical staff is not a requirement, but if you have trained employees on staff, they should be utilized. If not, consider providing basic blood-borne pathogen training via an online training provider.

  • Test everyone or no one
  • Provide PPE to the tester (gloves, mask and eyewear)
  • Conduct testing in a private area
  • Use a no-touch thermometer
  • Maintain social distancing in test line
  • Pay employees for time spent waiting to test
  • Do not record results, only who was checked
  • If an employee has a fever, keep the results and action confidential

Word of Caution

Avoid asking employees about symptoms of COVID-19. While this virus is not a protected medical condition, symptoms can be similar to things that are.